Thursday, December 06, 2012

Jon Pinnock on Writing & Place

I'm delighted to welcome the excellent and talented Jon Pinnock to the blog today. Jon is the author of one of the few books that has ever had me laughing out loud, Mrs Darcy Versus the Aliens, a hilarious (and erudite) mashup of, well, Jane Austen and extraterrestrials! Jon and I chatted about that book here. Today, Jon is here because he has a brand new book, his first short story collection, Dot Dash (Salt Publishing). Congratulations! 

I was honoured that Jon asked me to provide a "blurb" for the book, and here's what I said:

In these wonderful short, very short and very very short stories, Jonathan Pinnock takes aim at all the foibles and vanities we think we succeed in hiding. Not content to just pull back the curtain, Pinnock sets fire to it and chuckles as it blazes. Yet he also executes something of a conjuring trick, making us laugh, but also making us feel, think. Like Nana, whose granddaughter recreates Cairo in her bedroom for her before she dies, we fabricate our own reality: we see and hear what we want and ignore what we don't. Dot Dash is sending us a message, and yes, it may be through yellow plastic ducks, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't listen.
I recommend this collection highly, as you can tell. Very highly. I thought as part of Jon's virtual book tour, I'd ask him my Writing& Place questionnaire, and he could use that to tell us a bit more about his writing. Here goes:

View from Jon's Window
Tania: Where are you? 
Jon: I live in a converted windmill in deepest Somerset. On a good day, I can just about see Glastonbury Tor from my office window. On other days, I just, like, feel the vibes.


T: How long have you been there?
J: We moved here about six months ago after a long and sustained campaign by my wife to get me to realise the merits of living in the country. Having finally made the move, my only regret is that I didn't give in years ago.

T: What do you write? 
J: I mainly write short stories and poems, and my first short story collection, "Dot Dash", was published by Salt in November. A couple of years ago, I did also somehow manage to complete a novel, Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens, and that was published by Proxima in September 2011. I've also recently completed an offbeat non-fiction memoir-type thing that is currently out on submission. As a writer, I'll try my hand at almost anything, mainly just to see if I can. Among the various projects languishing at the back of an old sock drawer are a very strange ultra-short radio play that earned me an interview in Broadcasting House in 1992 (which I completely failed to capitalise on), as well as several failed attempts at kids' books from the same period. One of these days, I'll find one thing to do and give it 100% focus. Although it will almost certainly turn out to be the wrong thing.

T: How do you think where you are affects what you write about and how you write? 
Another view from Jon's window
J: Very good question. Usually I would say that most of my writing process goes on in my head, uninfluenced by my surroundings. However, over the last six months, the fact of having moved house has had a massive effect on my writing, in that I've spent an inordinate time unpacked boxes and sorting out stuff INSTEAD of writing. However, once everything's nice and settled, I'm hoping that the fact that we're surrounded by fields will provide ample opportunities for taking long walks and getting inspired by Mother Nature. Alternatively, it may simply provide ample opportunities for taking long walks instead of writing. Basically, the jury's still out.

Thank you so much, Jon, what a view! Dot Dash, was published by Salt in November - buy the paperback here, find out more on the book's website and more about Jon on his. And if you are of the ebook persuasion, Dot Dash is available for only 0.77p for your Kindle today! And you can read other authors' Writing & Place interviews here.


Emily Benet said...

Well done on the tantalising blurb Tania! And, Congrats on the book Jon! I'm intrigued and off to download my copy...

Helen Beal said...

A fantastic book - I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it!

jonathan pinnock said...

Thank you, Emily and Helen!